I started reading Swamp Thing from the very beginning... sort of. When I was a kid, I liked superhero comics and not much else (no western, no war, etc.). I also gravitated toward Marvel, so Swamp Thing had two strikes against it right out of the gate (to mix a metaphor or two). I remember seeing titles such as Swamp Thing and Kamandi on the spinner racks but not giving them a second look (or even a first). Even when I walked into a comic book shop for the first time in my life several years later, it took some time for me to overcome my preconceived notions regarding such titles as Daredevil (Frank Miller's) and Swamp Thing (Alan Moore's). Then, in 1986, DC released the Roots of the Swamp Thing reprint series and i started at the very beginning (#1) if not exactly from the very beginning (1972). 

Skip ahead 15 years. I'm now married. My new bride is not wholly unfamiliar with comic books and is willing to read more. I recommended a list of 8 or 10 of my favorites (including the Wein/Wrightson and the Moore/Bisette/Totleben runs of Swamp Thing), most of which she read. I had tens of thousands of comics in my collection at that time, enough to keep us busy reading and discussing for years. But she became interested in comics I didn't have, such as the post-Moore Swamp Thing as well as the complete run of Fables (which I myself still have not read). We spent the next however-many-it-was months collecting backissues of Swamp Thing plus I added those two titles to my pull & hold. 

At this point Tracy has read literally hundreds more issues of Swamp Thing than I have. We don't have every issue (she finally lost interest after the "New 52"), but we have quite a few. Ironically,  it was "Brightest Day" which reignited my own interest, so some of the more recent issues she has not read. I like to "prorate" the cost of my comics by a) reading them multiple times, or b) giving them to my wife to read. We get the best value from those comic we both read multiple times. To that end, we have decided to work our way through every issue we own from 1972 to 2018.

We recently led a discussion through every issue/series in Terry Moore's "SiP-verse" but, if we complete it, this project is more than twice as long. We invite you along for the ride. 

Wein/Wrightson - p1

Nestor Redondo - p2

The "Mopee Thing" - p3

Miscellaneous - p4

Martin Pasko - p5

Alan Moore - p8

Rick Veitch - p25

Doug Wheeler - p31

Nancy Collins - p33

Grant Morrison & Mark Millar - p37

Mark Millar - p38

Views: 4004

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I know I shouldn't encourage the plague/virus victim to go out and show citizens how some are treated and used by their government. I shouldn't agree that our healthy, uninfected citizens should be shown a stark truth of how the least of us are suffering if it causes the death of millions more. However, I, personally, am in an enraged, political state of mind and cannot help seeing how closely this story is to current events. This nation's people did not rise up and demand health care for all. Some of us argued about petty issues and devalued the lives of our neighbors to serve our own ends. I feel as if the character here in Swamp Thing would have made no difference, no positive change in the world. Likely, he would have been killed on site for how he looked long before reaching any goal. 


The Baron said:

I like that idea.

Richard Willis said:

When the bomb was tested, the fallout infected an isolated city, turning the residents into yellow-skinned mutants.

I can't help but think the city was Springfield and the mutants were The Simpsons.

ISSUE #23: For some dumb reason, we need to rehash the origin of Swamp Thing again but the single panel of ST telling Edward and Ruth his story has no dialog. Edward says he's always wondered, Alec and Linda were too good to die in a simple explosion. Then Edward tells the story back to Swamp Thing. This seems redundant and, quite frankly, cruel.

Once the experiment to change Alec back is ready, Edward yaks at Swamp Thing about the details. Even though it's taken three days to set it up, Edward chooses to stand in the makeshift barn with the bomb ticking down to one minute to explain how it all came together. 

Edward is not smart. He's a bore who likes to hear himself talk. 

Swamp Thing, and ultimately Alec Holland, could choose revenge for circumstances. However, time and again, it is those who wronged the big fellow who act evil and seek revenge, hurting others. 

ISSUE #24: I figured Ruth would fall for Alec. I also figured Edward would be jealous.

The writers eluded to an untold story about the radio transmitter in ST/Alec's shoulder. They never told it. 

In early issues, Swamp Thing thinks about his transformation. He thinks that the bio-restoration formula used plant materials to mimic his muscles and bones, his bodily structure and added strength. If the pool of smamp water Edward created contained everything needed to restore Alec, it would have needed a man's body, the nuclear poison that mutated the kids and swamp creatures and so on. 

I'm fine with this not being canon. 

"This piece of nonsense was hard to plow through. It took me a while to get through it because the dialog was atrocious. I kept losing interest."

I think this discussion is going well, but what we really should be doing is a podcast. That way, everyone could hear Tracy reading "atrocious" sections aloud. Tracy doesn't transcribe lengthy bits of dialogue, but I do. The one in question is from #15, the one about the Reverend Bliss who has turned to the demon Nebiros to achieve his ends. After "monologuing" for a full page and a half, he says, "For together, we shall bring about--Armageddon!"

"Fine," says Tracy. That's all he needs to say. He should have just stopped there. We kind of disagree on this point because I have no trouble with an archtypal megalomaniac spouting over-the-top, overblown dialogue. Bliss goes on to say: "Yes--Armageddon! The final battle! The ultimate chaos! For with the ultimate in chaos loose in the world, the ultimate in order must surely reveal itself to balance the cosmic scales! And the ultimate in order can only be--GOD!" and if you think that's funny to read, you should hear Tracy recite it.

"Oy! The writers manage to stick one of these in every issue, as if readers are too dumb to know that action happens in every issue. The * is dumb. Annoying. * Stay tuned for more opinions."

The footnotes are really starting to annoy Tracy, especially the ones that say "Last issue," and I can't say I blame her. The one footnote I wouldn't care if I never read again is "Last issue." (Others include the definitions of "Asgard" and "Midgard" in a Thor comic, and the definition of S.H.I.E.L.D" or "S.T.A.R." anywhere.) I don't remember which comic I was reading here recently (it'll come to me in the middle of the night), but it referred to several previous events throughout, but without footnotes! It was like a breath  of fresh air!

"Mysterious feet appear on the beach where Swamp Thing has washed ashore. Oh, Nestor, seriously? Those are the ugliest shoes I've ever seen in a comic book."

Here is an example of why I think all of the best discussions require at least two active participants... not just for "play-by-play" and "color commentary", but because most of the time the other person brings a unique perspective. I would never have thought to criticize Laganna's "open-toed granny orthopedic shoes."

"Michelinie finally wrote some dialog that I can identify with instead of mad ravings of the power-hungry."

I am having difficulty convincing Tracy that Michelinie is a better writer (or will become one) than he demonstrates here.

"For some dumb reason, we need to rehash the origin of Swamp Thing again but the single panel of ST telling Edward and Ruth his story has no dialog."

Tracy's right: this series rehashes Swamp Thing's origin a lot. The particular issue that drew this comment, #23, is the "new direction" issue, so if the editor were expecting new readers, I can see why he may have called for it. Also, she's right about something else: this particular retelling is simply bad (comic book) storytelling. Edward narrates Alec's own story, which Alec must have just told him, back to Alec. 

"Edward is not smart. He's a bore who likes to hear himself talk."

I think she's right about this, too. If he is as smart as he thinks he is, why is Alec the successful one?

"The writers eluded to an untold story..."

"Alluded," dear. :) 

"Tomorrow is FCBD. Maybe I'll check to see if the tpb of v2 is in stock."

It was, Yay!

MISCELLANEOUS:

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #122 (OCT '75):This issue's cover-date places it just prior to Swamp Thing #19. It is written by Bob Haney and drawn by Jim Aparo. Swamp Thing is captured and put on display by an event promoter just as Gotham City's flora begins to run amok. 

DC COMIC PRESENTS #8 (APR '79): This issue is written by Steve Englehart and drawn my Murphy Anderson, creators from different generations. The cover, depicting Swamp Thing teaming up with Solomon Grundy against Superman, is actually pretty accurate.

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #176 (JUL '81): This issue is written by Martin Pasko (who would become the writer of Saga of the Swamp Thing starting with the first issue, May 1982) and drawn by Jim Aparo. The investigation of a case leads Batmam to the Louisiana bayou and the murder of Felicia Kyle, Catwoman's sister.

DC COMICS PRESENTS #85 (SEP '85): This issue is not in the Bronze Age v2 collection, but I've been wondering where I was going to slot it. Although it is written by Alan Moore (and drawn by Rick Veitch), it was released the same month as Swamp Thing (v2) #40, and I am not going to want to interrupt my discussion of the Moore run when we get to that point. Swamp Thing helps a feverish and hallucinating Superman recover from contact with a Kryptonian fungus carried to Earth on a meteor. 

SWAMP THING #25 (unpublished): Issue #24 was scripted by David Anthony Kraft over Gerry Conway's plot, but this story reveals he would have gone on to become the series new writer. Also, Ernie Chua would have carried on as artist. DAK's treatment consists of a six-page typewritten plot, and 22 pages of script. The art consists of a fully pencilled and inked cover, plus eight pages of un-inked pencils (the first eight), and eight pages inked and lettered. One page of art (page 15, a full-page panel) is missing. 

I don't usually read comic book scripts, even when given the opportunity (unless it's an Alan Moore script, which everyone should read), if the finished product is available. But the finished product is not available in this case, so I read each of DAK's page-by-page breakdowns followed by the page itself. DAK relied a lot on Ernie Chua, I think. Here are some of his descriptions: "This is a two-page spread, so design it for maximum impact"; "Be creative and very dramatic"; "They are now in downtown Portland, Oregon (research this, please from an encyclopedia if nothing else)"; "Open with an establishing shot of the ship, and since it's a rather lame design, enhance it with forced perspective or something"; "It's extremely visual and exciting. Please do"; "Remember to use close-ups every now and then"; "Make this very dramatic"; "Impart an air of the tragic to this." 

I don't know how this compares to full scripts from other writers (like I said, I don't usually read them), but here is DAK's final note to Chua: "This is a rollicking adventure story, Ernie, and I can't wait to see this combination of swamp thing mood and sheer action. Go berserk! This is a classic confrontation between two of National's most interesting characters, and I'm anxious as all hell to see how you handle it. Good luck!"

The story itself is nothing less than an alternate version (in comparison to the published one) as to how Alec Holland reverted to Swampt thing. It ends on a cliffhanger, with Edward Holland now teamed up with Sabre and Smith (which at least explains why there is no Edward in the Challengers of the Unknown stories). Also, Sabre is threatening to unleash Fire Master, the second of Colossus's Elementals. 

As I mentioned above, page 15 of the art is missing, but because it's a full-page panel it's loss doesn't affect the story all that much. (DAK's description: "A really dramatic, stunning full page artistic tour-de-force!") As a matter of fact, I find Chua's artwork so easy to follow, even the un-inked, unscripted pages, that I'm going to to recommend that Tracy read it as is, without reading the plot, instead of the Challengers of the Unknown issues (except my summaries), unless, of course, she really wants to. 

If the pair of you had a podcast, I would actually go to the trouble of finding out what a "podcast" is, and how they are consumed.

SWAMP THING #25: It was remarkably easy to follow. Thank goodness for the second half being lettered though. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known that Edward turned out to be a stupid, jealous pr*g. Without description in the panels, how would I have understood that (somehow) Swamp Thing damaged (without hitting) Hawkman's anti gravity belt, causing him to float away upwards as ST plunged into the river below.

The visuals were phenomenal, especially the double page spread of Swamp Thing bursting from the VW bug on the bridge. 

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #122: The artwork in this this issue was well done also. The vines cracking and crushing the buildings was convincing. Once again, it was a secret agency putting lives at risk. They dump Crimson 13. I'm sure this red rain is perfectly harmless to the citizens of Gotham. 

The cover may be accurate but it is one of the worst drawings of Swamp Thing I've seen. 

The story is decent but reminds me of a lot of the misunderstood monster plots. Ultraman does this until one of the people or crew make an effort to understand, to listen, and help the monster. The Dark Shadows episodes were currently on is the sad, lonely story of Adam and his quest for a mate. He still acts out in rages though because he feels unimportant. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

DC COMIC PRESENTS #8 (APR '79): This issue is written by Steve Englehart and drawn my Murphy Anderson, creators from different generations. The cover, depicting Swamp Thing teaming up with Solomon Grundy against Superman, is actually pretty accurate.

I didn't know that Selina had a sister. I've learned something new today.

This issue featured yet another pair of footnotes that I found annoying. Yes, Paul (editor), I know what an APB is. Two panels later, * Batman and Swamp Thing have met before. Please be quiet, Paul. You're breaking the flow of the story and I find you irritating. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #176 (JUL '81): This issue is written by Martin Pasko (who would become the writer of Saga of the Swamp Thing starting with the first issue, May 1982) and drawn by Jim Aparo. The investigation of a case leads Batmam to the Louisiana bayou and the murder of Felicia Kyle, Catwoman's sister.

No one knew that Selina had a sister! She appeared in this issue only!

Tracy of Moon-T said:

I didn't know that Selina had a sister. I've learned something new today.

This issue featured yet another pair of footnotes that I found annoying. Yes, Paul (editor), I know what an APB is. Two panels later, * Batman and Swamp Thing have met before. Please be quiet, Paul. You're breaking the flow of the story and I find you irritating. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #176 (JUL '81): This issue is written by Martin Pasko (who would become the writer of Saga of the Swamp Thing starting with the first issue, May 1982) and drawn by Jim Aparo. The investigation of a case leads Batmam to the Louisiana bayou and the murder of Felicia Kyle, Catwoman's sister.

"The cover may be accurate but it is one of the worst drawings of Swamp Thing I've seen."

Worse than The brave & the bold #176?

"I didn't know that Selina had a sister."

She doesn't. Not post-Crisis, anyway.

"Please be quiet, Paul."*

*She's referring to Paul Levitz.

Tracy doesn't have anything in particular to say about DC Comics Presents #85, so I'm moving on to...

SWAMP THING ANNUAL #1

Swamp Thing Annual #1 is simultaneously an example of why I don't watch super-hero movies and why I don't buy comic book adaptations of them. I have owned this comic book for years... decades, even... but I didn't deign to read it until today. The only reason I'm reading it now is because I recently watched the movie to supplement my enjoyment of Danny Horn's "Superheroes Every Day" blog (and for this discussion, of course). I recently learned how drastically the film had been cut to keep it under budget from the very first day of shooting. Sometimes comic book adaptations of films are based on the shooting script from before scenes were cut and changes were made.  It had been my hope that such was the case here, but no such luck. If you are interested in the story of how the movie came to be filmed, then I strongly suggest you read Horn's essay "Dark Genesis"; I absolutely guarantee you will find it more entertaining than either the movie itself or its comic book adaptation. 

Despite the fact that Matt Cable was "Alice Cable" in the movie, it actually makes a better lead-in for Saga of the Swamp Thing #1 than Swamp Thing #24 (which directly precedes it in the omnibus) does. Which is not to say that it's good. Swamp Thing Annual #1 is included in the omnibus, but it's tacked on as an afterthought at the very end (for completeness' sake, I suppose). Although it does (in my estimation) fit better before SotSW #1 than v1 #24 does, the best choice would have been not to include it at all. Previously I suggested that a summary of CotU #81-87 would have fit, I now think the omnibus should have included the unfinished pages of the unpublished Swamp Thing #25 in addition to a summary of the Challs storyline. That option would have served the narrative best. 

I'm going to leave it up to Tracy whether or not she wants to read the annual, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting if I were you.

NEXT: SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Groups

Latest Activity

Irma Kruhl replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Andy Panda"
13 minutes ago
Irma Kruhl replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"No problem!  Duplicates seem inevitable, at least when the month is winding down.  Okay,…"
15 minutes ago
Philip Portelli replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"The infamous H.E.R.B.I.E. the Robot from 1978's New Fantastic Four cartoon! At least he…"
29 minutes ago
ClarkKent_DC replied to Lee Houston, Junior's discussion Did Go Comics GO?
"Candorville took note of the Go Comics problems today:"
37 minutes ago
Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"I watched Descendant on Netflix, and it's turned out to be one of my favorite movies of the…"
2 hours ago
Steve W replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"I'll concentrate on Superman/boy/girl/Clark Kent robots from now on. Maybe I'll have more…"
2 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Captain Comics's discussion Does anyone have James Bond DVDs or Blu-rays?
""A good James Bond trivia question is 'What is the only movie in which James Bond…"
4 hours ago
Steve W replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Sorry Irma. It was late at night and I wasn't concentrating. I'll try and buck up."
6 hours ago
Jeff of Earth-J replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion DC's 1st Issue Specials
"DR. FATE: WRITER: Martin Pasko ARTIST: Walt Simonson PEDIGREE: Golden …"
6 hours ago
Dave Palmer replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
"Not quite the Challengers of the Unknown"
6 hours ago
Tracy of Moon-T replied to The Baron's discussion Movies I Have Seen Lately
"I thought the movie was mostly boring and quite vile. I realize some of it was the social time…"
7 hours ago
MethodEng replied to Steve W's discussion A Cover a Day
7 hours ago

© 2022   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service